Activists mark anniversary of Ukraine ‘coup’

Pro-Putin protesters gather near the Kremlin on the anniversary of the Maidan protests in Ukraine. Picture: AP

Pro-Putin protesters gather near the Kremlin on the anniversary of the Maidan protests in Ukraine. Picture: AP

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A RALLY took place in 
Moscow yesterday to condemn the “coup” in neighbouring Ukraine, a year after the 
downfall of its pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich.

Russian state media heavily promoted the rally and march with the slogan “We won’t forget! We won’t forgive!”, as groups of demonstrators gathered under patriotic banners.

Police estimated about 35,000 people took part.

The Moscow event was styled as an “anti-Maidan” march – a reference to Ukraine’s pro-EU protests that started on Kiev’s central Independence Square, widely known as the Maidan.

Marchers included Cossacks in full uniform and young women in anoraks emblazoned with pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One group of marchers in military fatigues could be seen with a placard which read “Maidan is an illness – we’re going to cure it!” Another placard read “Maidan benefits the enemies of Russia!” Ukraine’s protests ousted pro-Russian president Yanukovich in 2014.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in London for talks yesterday with Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, said Russia’s conduct was “simply unacceptable” and the United States expected to see agreement on further international sanctions in the coming days.

“Russia has engaged in an absolutely brazen and cynical process over these last days. We know to a certainty what Russia has been providing to the separatists, how Russia is involved with the separatists,” he said.

Kerry added: “We’re not going to sit there and be part of this kind of extraordinarily craven behaviour at the expense of the sovereignty and integrity of a nation.”

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